16 October 2009
Transcript of the Speech delivered by His Serene Highness Prince Tu'ipelehake, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Fisheries on the occastion of celebrating World Food Day (October 16) in Tonga.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Every year, on the 16th of October, we celebrate the World Food Day. Today, marks another occasion and this is the 40th year since its inception in 1979. More than 150 other countries celebrate this day today with us. The 16th of October is also the date of the founding anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Each year, a theme is adopted and this year's theme is ‘Achieving Food Security in Times of Crisis'
This theme is chosen to highlight our need for action and common focus to achieve food security in times of crisis as well as no crisis.
The global economic crisis, particularly in the last 3 years, is affecting the world food production and this contributes to the increasing number of people suffering from hunger. According to the statement of the FAO Director General, "for the first time in history more than one billion people are undernourished worldwide. This is about 100 million more than last year and it means that one in every six persons suffers from hunger every day".
This may not be true for Tonga now but this can happen in the future. This day is an opportunity for us all to be grateful that we have enough to eat here in Tonga. It is also an opportunity for us to be aware of the plight of millions of people elsewhere, suffering from hunger, and hopefully drive us all here in Tonga to work harder to ensure food security for our families and for our country.
Today is also an opportunity to reflect on food-related crisis that were experiencing here in Tonga. It is the crisis of NCD's (Non Communicable Diseases). We have to pay particular attention not only on the quantity of our food intake but more so on the quantity of the food we are eating. Our local foods are ‘healthy food". They are better and we need to eat more of these.
We are celebrating here the World Food Day with the exhibitions of our local foods to remind us all of the importance of our local food. We need to continue to promote our local food not only for food security but also for our health security. If we are healthy, we are in a better position to act and do more to contribute in securing our food for our family and for our country as a whole.
Thanks to all who are participating in this WFO Celebration, especially to those women and their groups and all the other members of the community who closely work and collaborate with our Ministry, particularly with our Women's Development Division who organize this event.
Issued by the Women Development Division, MAFFF, Nuku'alofa.